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CovId19

Testing, Reopening Schools, Vaccines: Fauci And Others Testify

In a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, Chair Lamar Alexander of Tennessee asked Dr. Anthony Fauci whether coronavirus treatments or a vaccine could be developed in time to allow college students to return to school in the fall. Fauci said that “would be a bridge too far.”

There’s a full recap of today’s hearing on The NPR Politics Podcast. listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and NPR One.

New York is trying to build what could become one of the largest contact tracing programs for COVID-19. Starting this month, public health officials there are looking to hire as many as 17,000 investigators.

Nursing homes account for nearly half of COVID-19 deaths in some states. NPR’s Ina Jaffe reports on why nursing homes have been so vulnerable to the virus and what could be done to improve them in the future.

Plus, a professional musician sidelined by the coronavirus becomes a one-man marching band for his neighborhood.

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Senators listen to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speak remotely during the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine COVID-19 and Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School on May 12. Win McNamee/POOL/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Win McNamee/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

In a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, Chair Lamar Alexander of Tennessee asked Dr. Anthony Fauci whether coronavirus treatments or a vaccine could be developed in time to allow college students to return to school in the fall. Fauci said that “would be a bridge too far.”

There’s a full recap of today’s hearing on The NPR Politics Podcast. listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and NPR One.

New York is trying to build what could become one of the largest contact tracing programs for COVID-19. Starting this month, public health officials there are looking to hire as many as 17,000 investigators.

Nursing homes account for nearly half of COVID-19 deaths in some states. NPR’s Ina Jaffe reports on why nursing homes have been so vulnerable to the virus and what could be done to improve them in the future.

Plus, a professional musician sidelined by the coronavirus becomes a one-man marching band for his neighborhood.

The NPR Politics Podcast has a recap of today’s hearing, listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and NPR One.
Find and support your local public radio station

Sign up for ‘The New Normal’ newsletter

This episode was produced by Gabriela Saldivia, Anne Li and Brent Baughman, and edited by Beth Donovan.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2020/05/12/854375921/testing-reopening-schools-vaccines-fauci-and-others-testify

Cannabis

Headlines: COVID-19 Latest, Medical Marijuana Delivery Vetoed & Filming in Oklahoma

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Local headlines for Tuesday, May 26, 2020:

  • Health officials are reporting two more Oklahomans have died from COVID-19. (Tulsa World)
     
  • Panhandle community divided amid COVID-19 outbreak. (NewsOK)
     
  • Norman private school graduation ceremony comes under fire. (NewsOK)
     
  • Oklahoma Blood Institute looking for convalescent plasma donors. (Tulsa World)
     
  • The head of Oklahoma’s agency dealing with unemployment resigns her post. (NewsOK)
     
  • Governor Stitt vetoes legislation to allow home delivery of medical marijuana. (Journal Record)
     
  • Stitt signs bill barring purely aesthetic design standards from cities (Journal Record)
     
  • Oklahoma City considers cuts to police and firefighters. (NewsOK)
     
  • New app hopes to help people dealing with homelessness. (NewsOK)
     
  • Pandemic isn’t hurting Oklahoma home sales. (Journal Record)
     
  • A push for more electric vehicles and charging stations. (Tulsa World)
     
  • Gathering Place reopens despite rain. (Tulsa World)
     
  • Oklahoma State fans are mourning the loss of a legend. (NewsOK)
     
  • Future screen chances could be coming for Oklahomans. (Tulsa World)

Original Author Link click here to read complete story..

Source: https://mmpconnect.com/headlines-covid-19-latest-medical-marijuana-delivery-vetoed-filming-in-oklahoma/

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CovId19

Uber cuts 600 jobs in India

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Uber is cutting 600 jobs in India, or 25% of its workforce in the country, it said on Tuesday as it looks to cut costs to steer through the coronavirus pandemic.

The job cuts, which affect teams across customer and driver support, business development, legal, policy, marketing, and finance, are part of the company’s global restructuring that eliminated 6,700 jobs this month.

The American giant, which claimed to be the top cab hailing service in India earlier this year, said it was providing 10 to 12 weeks of salary to the employees who were being let go, in addition to offering them medical insurance for the next six months.

“The impact of Covid-19 and the unpredictable nature of the recovery has left Uber India with no choice but to reduce the size of its workforce. Around 600 full time positions across driver and rider support, as well as other functions, are being impacted. These reductions are part of previously announced global job cuts this month. Today is an incredibly sad day for colleagues leaving the Uber family and all of us at the company. We made the decision now so that we can look to the future with confidence,” said Pradeep Parameswaran, President for Uber’s India and South Asia businesses, in a statement shared through a spokesperson.

“I want to apologise to departing colleagues and extend my heartfelt thanks to them for their contributions to Uber, the riders, and the driver partners we serve in India,” he added.

Uber’s announcement follows a similar cost cutting measures enforced by its local rival Ola, which eliminated 1,400 jobs, or 35% of its workforce last week.

India announced a lockdown in late March that shut down all public transportation services across the country. In recent weeks, New Delhi has eased some restrictions, however, that has enabled both Ola and Uber to resume several of their services — excluding pool rides — in most parts of the country except those where concentration of coronavirus cases is very high.

As in most other parts of the world, the Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted several industries in India including food delivery, hospitality and travel. Food delivery startups Swiggy and Zomato have together eliminated about 2,600 jobs (with 2,100 at Swiggy alone) as many of their existing customers attempt to avoid exposure to the world. Uber sold its Indian food delivery business to Zomato earlier this year.

Travel and hospital firms such as MakeMyTrip and Oyo have also cut several jobs or furloughed thousands of employees in recent months as their revenues drop significantly.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/25/uber-cuts-600-jobs-in-india/

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AR/VR

Retail Sales Plummet Amid Lockdown; Augmented Reality is the Solution

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Empty shopping mall in Naples, Italy: https://unsplash.com/photos/mXXEj7qYY2w

This article was first published on TechCrunch on May 6th, 2020.https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/06/ar-is-the-answer-to-plummeting-retail-sales-during-lockdown/

As countries around the world face prolonged lockdown to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, retailers are among the hardest hit. Many have closed all of their brick and mortar stores, resulting in furloughing of many employees.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported retail sales during March 2020 were down 8.7%, the biggest monthly drop ever recorded since the Great Recession. Of the hardest hit categories, clothing store sales were down 50.5% from February, furniture store sales were down 26.8%, and luxury goods are expected to fall 31%.

Before COVID-19, the brick and mortar retail sector was already decimated by online retail behemoths like Amazon and now the sector’s fate seems sealed by the ever increasing threat of the pandemic.

The so-called retail apocalypse may seem inevitable, but in these challenging times, it is more important than ever to look at how technology can turn the tide.

Image Courtesy of M-XR

Imagine a future where consumers can virtually try on clothes that would fit them perfectly and they can purchase the clothes confidently in the comfort of their own homes. Consumers will no longer need to choose different sizes because computer vision and scanning technologies would have already determined the perfect fit for them. These virtual clothes will also look so real that consumers will not be able to distinguish them from reality. Spoiler alert- this future is already here.

Virtual-try-on is one of the most compelling use cases of augmented reality technology (AR). With AR, consumers are armed with the information they need to confidently make purchasing decisions that will not likely result in returns for retailers. Retailers can also gain new insights into consumers’ buying patterns by tracking gazes, view history, and time spent looking at a particular product. Retailers can even make the AR shopping experience more personalized by providing real-time feedback.

With over 2 billion AR-enabled devices today and 100 million consumers expected to shop with AR this year, the technology is prime for adoption. Here are some examples of how the world’s leading retail brands are using AR to increase conversion, increase sales, and decrease returns.

Computer vision, AI and AR technologies are essential for virtual try-on applications to work seamlessly. When combined, our devices will see and understand the world as we do.

In Warby Parker’s case they used the iPhone’s face mapping technology to let consumers virtually try on glasses and browse through frames easily. Each virtual glasses automatically fit the user’s face even when they move or tilt their head.

Gucci, on the other hand, partnered up with Wanna Kicks, an AR application that uses computer vision and AI technology to let shoppers virtually try on its line of Ace sneakers. All shoppers needed to do is point their smartphone cameras at their feet and the virtual sneakers will magically snap on to their feet. Because the app recognizes the feet and tracks their movement, shoppers can look at the virtual sneakers from any angle. In this case, augmented reality takes the guesswork out of style matching and saves consumers the trip to the physical stores.

In the cosmetic world, L’Oreal has acquired Modiface to help consumers visualize makeup and hairstyles on themselves in real-time. Modiface uses advanced computer vision, face mapping, and AI technology to perform scientifically validated skin assessment and simulation, photo-realistic makeup simulation with dynamic lighting adaption, and photo-realistic hair color and style simulation. All of these features increase online shoppers’ buying confidence, increase product satisfaction and reduce return rates.

Image courtesy of M-XR

In the luxury sector, AR needs to showcase the craftsmanship of the product as accurately as possible. Mulberry expected nothing less of the best possible AR experience so they commissioned M-XR to create photorealistic and AR-optimized 3D models of their latest luxury handbag- The Iris.

M-XR is an innovative startup that is developing proprietary technology that captures exact 3D replicas of objects and environments at scale. Their scanning system can accurately measure real world materials and produce photorealistic rendering of real world objects.

Getting the material right is key to photorealism because material uses an array of textures to describe how the object reacts to light. This type of photorealism makes AR experiences so much more believable. As a result, Mulberry is able to showcase its new product virtually and impress its customers at their special product launch events in Tokyo, New York and London.

“High quality AR experiences pose a perfect solution to keep customers engaged during these difficult times. Augmented reality bridges the gap between the real-world and the digital world, and gives brands the opportunity to explore conversational commerce through compelling storytelling. If brands aren’t exploring augmented reality activations now, then they might miss a huge opportunity.” — Ryan Howell, Co-founder & CEO of M-XR

Realism is all about lighting in 3D. Accenture demonstrated this with MyDaylight, an XR experience which allows customers to explore the potential of VELUX roof windows when redesigning their homes. Users can model their rooms using MyDaylight’s 360° light simulations to establish optimal window placement and orientation. Through this application the user can view their reimagined room according to season, time of day, location and orientation on their mobile device, and can even use a VR headset to experience how it would feel to stand inside their new room.

“In today’s world, customer expectations are rapidly evolving. They increasingly want to be able to be immersed in a shopping environment, configure and try-on products, and collaborate with others while doing it, without having to go to a physical store. This is where tools like AR come in, providing new ways to engage consumers on their terms. I expect virtual try-on and virtual configuration solutions like this to become a natural part of the new consumer digital journey, for any industry — be it apparel, automotive, hoteling or furniture.” — Rafaella Camera, Head of Global Innovation & Strategy at Accenture

Similarly, the Ikea Place app allows consumers to virtually place 1:1 scale furniture in their homes so they know how the furniture will look. Ikea has also recently acquired Geomagical Lab to launch Studio Mode, a feature that allows consumers to quickly scan a room, render that into a panoramic 3D picture, and remove all the furniture in it. Consumers can then drag and drop high fidelity 3D furniture into the scene to design their rooms.

“Augmented reality experiences thus far have been limited by the environment within which they’re taking place. Studio Mode with the new iPad Pro presents the potential that AR and AI have to deliver more meaningful, personal and playful experiences,” — Kaave Pour, Director at Space10, Ikea’s research and design lab.

Houzz also reported that within a few months of launching their View in My Room 3D tool , two million people have used AR when buying products in the Houzz app and people who have engaged with the tool were 11 times more likely to purchase.

Image Courtesy of M-XR

With the release of Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore in 2017, the augmented reality revolution has already been set in motion. AR became a technology that is embedded in 2 billion devices, all through a software update. It is no longer a question of whether AR will be ubiquitous, it is already here with many practical applications in retail.

As many retailers are struggling to survive this pandemic, it is more urgent than ever to invest in 3D technology that will drive more revenue, engagement and value. Social distancing measures may be imposed until 2022 and many experts believe we are heading towards the worst recession since the Great Depression. Therefore, retailers must consider the following digital transformation:

  1. Narrow down a compelling and measurable use case

Before putting all of your eggs in one basket, understand the categories of products that will perform much better in 3D than 2D. Do consumers absolutely need to visualize this product spatially? Will the virtual assets need to interact with the environment or the consumer? Are there technological limitations that would dampen the experience?

2. Digitize your catalogue for that use case and create the 3D assets

3D assets are the cornerstones of any AR experience. Though it may seem like a big upfront investment, these assets will pay in dividends later on. Real world products can be turned into digital 3D models through photogrammetry, 3D scanning or 3D modeling. Each method has its pros and cons and retailers must balance between quality, scalability and cost.

3. Leverage existing AR platforms to maximize reach

Apple’s ARKit or Google’s ARCore makes it easy to deploy camera-based AR technology. There are already 2 billion devices that are capable of running AR applications. Using Unity’s AR Foundation, developers can create a cross-platform AR experience that leverages both ARKit and ARCore APIs. Facebook’s Spark AR Studio, Snap’s Lens Studio and 8th Wall are also robust AR platforms that allow marketers to develop fun and engaging AR experiences without advanced coding knowledge.

Image Courtesy of M-XR

At Shape Immersive, we believe augmented reality would be the next fundamental platform shift, supplanting the multi-touch interfaces of today. This idea of blending virtual worlds with physical ones opens up an entirely new frontier in which shopping and commerce will be redefined. Having worked with some of the world’s top brands and enterprises since 2015, we have built deep industry knowledge of creating customized AR solutions. We can help you create 3D replicas of your products and integrate AR technology into your workflows. Drop us a line at hello@shapeimmersive.com and let us know how we can help!

http://www.shapeimmersive.com/

Source: https://arvrjourney.com/retail-sales-plummet-amid-lockdown-augmented-reality-is-the-solution-480c92ec294e?source=rss—-d01820283d6d—4

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